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Shacharit–Morning Prayers

Shacharit–Morning Prayers

Rise and Climb


The sun has risen; a new day beckons.

It’s time to climb a ladder, to ascend to the heavenly spheres and fortify our sensitivity for G‑d and spirituality. After this daily booster we descend, equipped to tackle the day and the struggles it will present.

This ladder is the morning prayers, shacharit, recited sometime between sunrise and midday (the earlier the better). The prayer lasts, on average, half an hour.

Shacharit is preceded by several pages of preliminary blessings and prayers. After this preamble, the ladder-climbing commences.

Rung One:

Content: Hodu—a set of verses that praise the Almighty—and Psalms 30 and 67.
Theme: Simple acknowledgement of G‑d as the Master of the Universe, and a commitment to obey His will.

The Amidah reveals the intrinsic bond that connects us with the Creator, a bond that transcends emotion or intellect

Rung Two:

Content: The “Verses of Praise,” a series of Psalms (the bulk is Psalm 145–150), preceded by a blessing (Baruch She’amar) and followed by one (Yishtabach).
Theme: Awakening an emotional attachment to G‑d through awareness of His awesome deeds.

Rung Three:

Content: The Shema, preceded by two blessings and followed by one.
Theme: Contemplating the workings of the supernal worlds and comprehension of G‑d’s greatness and oneness.

Rung Four:

Content: The Amidah.
Theme: The Amidah is when one stands before G‑d and addresses Him directly, asking for his needs. This closeness denotes complete oneness with G‑d, a revelation of the intrinsic bond that connects us with the Creator, a bond that transcends emotion or intellect. This prayer is recited while standing at attention, and in an undertone.

Climbing Down

The Amidah is followed by penitential prayers, a brief reading from the Torah scroll on Mondays and Thursdays (and some other festive days), the “Song of the Day,” followed by the “Ein k’Elokeinu” and “Aleinu” hymns.


  • Adult males don tefillin and tallit for the course of the prayer.
  • When there are ten men, kaddish is recited several times during the prayer, and the prayer leader repeats the Amidah aloud while the rest answer “Amen.”
  • For special days (e.g., Shabbat, holidays, fast days), there are special variations. Certain prayers are added or omitted.
Illustrations by Yehuda Lang. To view more artwork by this artist, click here.
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John December 3, 2017

Thanking you for the kind prayer structure. We like the ladder and The Amidah prayers.

Kindly Reply

Chris August 8, 2017

I like to keep the three prayers but i have limited time. Can someone help me. Kindly reply. Todah in advance Reply

Rochel Chein for January 23, 2017

To Tania Most of the Shacharit prayers can be recited by one praying alone as well. See here for details. Reply

Tania London January 19, 2017

I know that women are meant to say the Amidah at least once a day, but if you are a single female, not able to make it to shacharit service, but still want to develop a morning prayer routine - will these rungs be halachically suitable for women? Reply

Jon USA October 14, 2015

Help for a student Shalom! I was wondering what you would recommend for someone with limited time to say shacharit, such as a student. Would saying just the amidah be acceptable?
A grateful Jew Reply

Deborah Critelli jersey city May 16, 2015

am finding the meaning of these prayers up lifting Reply

Shirley Washington State July 26, 2014

Thank you for this! I love the teachings you present...
One question... Why address the day with the "struggles it will present"? Especially after praying any struggles should be turned to joy and learning about the beauty of our world as we are walking through the day with a higher awareness. Addressing the day with joy instead of struggle seems much more appropriate to G-d's desires. Reply Staff Providence December 23, 2012

Re Videos hi, please click on 'related' and video' on the right side of the page. You'll see several videos on the daily prayers. Enjoy! Reply

Anonymous via December 22, 2012

morning I really like this article. I'd like to see a video on the how to to better assist me..shalom can anyone suggest anything? Reply

yminoh October 29, 2012

Solo I see in the Notes that without a minyan, I should not say kaddish. What else should I omit if I am saying morning prayers alone? Reply

Menachem Posner for Montreal, QC September 11, 2011

To David Morris You may bathe before launching into your Shacharit routine.

You should delay your breakfast, however, until after you pray. If you feel that you will be hungry and not able to concentrate a snack is okay, as it will enhance your prayers. Reply

David Morris Sydney, Australia September 10, 2011

Order of morning What is the best order of the morning...?
"Modi Ani" then "Netilat Yadayim". Get dressed & straight into Shacharit.

Or do you (or can you) bathe & have breakfast after Netilat Yadayim before getting into Shacharit....?

Is the order optional to the individual or set Reply

Tyler Castle Rock July 13, 2011

Siddur I have the Tehillat Hashem Siddur. You can get it on this website. Very affordable and has the prayers in English, Hebrew, and lots more. Highly recommended! Reply

Anonymous July 12, 2011

author unknown - illustrator known To author unknown - thanks for a concise guide to the rungs of the prayer ladder. Have seen other concise ones too. It's nice to see them align. You take the ladder metaphor to where I have not been told before. How to get down! I assumed that we were supposed to stay up there for the rest of the day. Obviously not. If we apply your ladder properly, we have to come down to this real world via those prayers of penitence. Reminds me of Jacob's Ladder with the angels going down and up. I am no angel. of course, but just using the imagery of how it's done, like 'special effects'. Have made some additions to the notes on the cover of my Siddur.

Going to come a time when I will read Shachrit in the Siddur. You've given me another push in that direction. Reply

Diana Houston, TX July 12, 2011

I love your teachings! I, more often than not, start my prayers off by praising G_d in the Psalms 145-150. I went to Temple with my Dad several years ago and they had a paperback Shabbat prayer book for their Friday services. I took a copy of it home with me (with permission) and I recite it in front of lite candles every Friday evening by myself.
It makes me feel really close to our Creator; to protect all He loves; our Jersuleum and His. Reply

oleilani Suffern, NY February 1, 2011

Prayers in Siddurim Hello, Miriam in Phoenix. Art Scroll publishes weekday,& Shabbat siddurim and several machzorim in english and transliterated hebrew. Hope this is helpful. Reply

Patrick November 10, 2010

morning prayers Hello,
I had the same question of what to read and found if you buy a Jewish prayerbook it has the entire morning, afternoon, and evening prayer in it in both English and Hebrew.

Shalom Reply

Chani Benjaminson, November 9, 2010

Prayers Hi Miriam, I am sorry but currently we only have a small part of the morning prayers available online, here-- you may want to consider purchasing a Hebrew-English siddur... Reply

Miriam Phoenix, AZ November 8, 2010

Morning Prayers I really need English translation of the Morning Prayers but I can't find it anywhere! I couldn't find it on your site either. Could you either tell me where you have it or know where it is or add it to your site? Also, anyone who knows where it is please tell me! Thanks! Reply

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